Transparent Words - Poetry

 
Barbara Phillips
 
 

Nativity Abstraction

 

she nods over the eggnog in her hand

face lined, suffused with tree glow

 

so long ago and yet I can’t forget

she says, as she turns, eyes moist from the smoky

fire or something else, it’s hard to tell

 

my sister and I, on the run, in the forest

heavy with bombs falling, drizzle, frost

more dead than alive

 

I was tempted just to lie down, let something kill me

 

then the cry; I thought it was a cat or a rabbit

an excuse to stop, roast something, try to camp

against logs sodden, yet giving the illusion of shelter

 

the body beside the child shattered, the child

in rags, stained by shreds of flesh, and the blood

enough to drown in, so thick, getting darker by the second

 

in the twilight of that Christmas Eve, when a silence

of sorts came back, as the seraphim of steel slipped

into clouds falling through pain torn horizons

 

when I picked her up I remembered what it was to be alive

we cleaned her off in an abandoned house, and from a surviving

cow we got milk; we got so giddy we cried

 

I told people at the refugee camp she was my daughter

we were each others’ angels; we went to the head of the

line with families for emigration, away from

 

forests haemorrhaging death, endings beyond reason

body parts sown across the underbrush in bizarre abstraction

mercy an alien unknown, tears another way of bleeding

 

 

 

Pg31

Previous   Return to Contents   Next